The man who allegedly attacked Paul Pelosi on Friday reportedly had an active online presence in which he posted QAnon conspiracy theories and was previously a pro-nudity activist.
San Francisco police have identified the suspect as 42-year-old David DePape, who was booked on several charges, including attempted homicide, elder abuse, aggravated battery with serious bodily injury, and threatening a public official or family member.
DePape allegedly attacked 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with a hammer after repeatedly asking, “Where is Nancy?”
Details that have emerged of the suspected attacker since Friday show that he was active in promoting conspiracy theories online and “very consumed by darkness.”
Here’s what else we know about DePape.
Conspiracy theories and antisemitism
DePape had a complicated political presence online, making posts that questioned the 2020 election outcome and promoted QAnon conspiracy theories.
After moving to California from British Columbia, DePape became known in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist, protesting against rules requiring people to be clothed in public, according to The Associated Press.
He was also a “hemp jewelry maker” connected to pro-nudity activist Gypsy Taub, who pushed conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Taub’s daughter, who said DePape helped raise her until she was 13, wrote on her blog, “There is some part of him that is a good person even though he has been very consumed by darkness.”
DePape has also been tied to a number of social media accounts and blogs sharing far-right conspiracy theories.
Two blogs authored by a “daviddepape” included recent posts with antisemitic content and claims of election fraud as well as a video of Nancy Pelosi at one of former President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, according to CNN.
In some posts, the author defended former President Trump and the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who has come under criticism for antisemitic comments.
In one post from last month, an author under DePape’s name wrote that journalists who denied the former president’s fraud claims about the 2020 presidential election “should be dragged straight out into the street and shot,” according to the AP.
Echoes of Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Police reportedly arrived at the scene to find Paul Pelosi and DePape struggling with a hammer — and before officers could tackle and disarm DePape, he allegedly took control of the hammer and assaulted Paul Pelosi with it.
Both Paul Pelosi and DePape were then transported to a local hospital. There, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and other significant injuries to his arm and hands, according to the Speaker’s spokesperson.
The suspect reportedly entered the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on Friday in search of the Speaker, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time, and shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”
The question is reminiscent of chants heard during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as some rioters searched the halls for the Speaker. One rioter was sentenced to 60 days behind bars earlier this year for threatening to shoot Nancy Pelosi “in the friggin’ brain” during the insurrection.
The San Francisco District Attorney has said multiple felony charges will be brought against DePape on Monday, with an arraignment expected Tuesday.